December 12, 2017 – FRN –
On December 6, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, General Gerasimov, at an annual briefing for foreign military attachés, made an official announcement:
In Syria, all the ISIS formations are destroyed, the country’s territory is completely freed from terrorists.” A total of more than 1,000 settlements have been liberated.
On December 11, President Putin flew from Moscow to Syria and landed at the Russian air base in Khmeimim. Putin came specifically to inform Russian soldiers and officers that their honourable and difficult mission ended in complete victory and now they have a long-awaited journey home.
At the Russian airbase, the head of state communicated with the President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar Assad, Russian Defense Minister General Shoigu, as well as the commander of the Russian group in Syria, Sergei Surovikin.
“Syria is preserved as a sovereign and independent state, conditions have been created for a political settlement under the auspices of the United Nations, refugees are returning to their homes.”
In an informal atmosphere, Putin talked with military personnel about their mission in Syria. At the meeting from the Syrian side, President Bashar Assad as well as the Syrian commander of the elite 5th assault corps “Tigers” Brigadier General Suhel was also present.
A smaller Russian military contingent remains to observe the situation from the airbase of Khmeimim and Navy base of Tartus. In addition, the Russian Center for Reconciliation will remain in Syria.
After visiting Khmeimim, Putin went on to a real political marathon. From Syria, the Presidential aircraft delivered Putin to Egypt, which can play an important role in the peace process in Syria. From Cairo, Putin went straight to Ankara for talks with Erdogan. Putin informed Erdogan about the withdrawal of the Russian military contingent from Syria, but there was no talk of problematic issues, such as the continued presence of Turkish troops entering the border regions of Syria.
1) Leaving Syria now, Moscow demonstrated that it is not going to get involved in a long-term conflict like “the Afghan scenario”, as professed by critics.
2) The Syrian government troops are trained and armed with Russian weapons. The negotiation process is developing successfully with the “moderate opposition” both in Syria itself, and in Geneva, where the next round of negotiations with all forces party to the conflict begins shortly.
3) Russia retained military bases in the Middle East – an important geopolitical factor. The army brilliantly demonstrated all of its tactical and technical capabilities, in a short time, destroying the infrastructure of the militants. Any further offensive of the Syrian army will now be supported by the Syrian Air Force with the available forces and means.
Inessa Sinchougova is an Editor and Journalist at Fort Russ News, as well as a research fellow and translator of the Belgrade based think-tank, the Center for Syncretic Studies. She was educated at Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand), in the field of Political Science and was previously employed in Marketing and Communications Strategy for a Multi-National Corporation. She runs a popular YouTube channel for translations of key Russian Foreign Policy figures and appears regularly on other alternative media channels. If you like her work, you can support her Patreon here.